Season 1 Episode 3

The Mark of Nimueh

Aired Unknown Oct 04, 2008 on BBC

Episode Fan Reviews (6)

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out of 10
223 votes
  • Nimueh uses her power to poison the water supply of Camelot. Merlin tries to find the cause while keeping his magic a secret.

    I have to say I like the show. Watched the first episodes and watched more. This is a nice show. Every episode has the right balance of action, suspense, comedy and suspense.

    Michelle Ryan is a decent actress as Nimueh. This episode has to do with a poison water supply as the result of Nimueh's magic.

    Merlin tries to investigate but he has to watch himself because sorcery and witchcraft is punishable by death.

    Merlin eventually finds out the source but it's Gwen who is suspected of using magic.

    It was interesting to see how everything comes together. Once again Arthur needs Merlin. It's hilarious to see everyone minus his master underestimate Merlin, and yet they owe everything to his deeds.
  • The water supply of Camelot is poisoned by the Sorceress Nimueh. People start dying and it is up to Gaius and Merlin to figure out why. Merlin saves Gwen's father with magic and Gwen faces death by fire when Uther the King claims she is a sorceress.

    Great episode with a formidable nemesis the Sorceress Nimueh played by Michelle Ryan. We don't know much about her except that Uther mentioned to Gaius that she has a history with him and Camelot that seems to not be pleasant. Could she be the reason Uther is so negative about the use of magic? Also Gaius is very aware of why she is hated so much by Uther!

    At first a few random people are dying but as the numbers mount to fifty and more the need to find an answer becomes more and more necessary. Merlin figures he can do so with magic but Gaius says it is not worth the risk.

    Gwen's father gets the sickness and Merlin cannot stand to watch Gwen suffer so he enchants a remedy and places it under his head while everyone is asleep. He becomes cured and when Arthur and his men search Gwen's quarters he finds the enchanted cure. Uther charges Gwen with sorcery and decides to burn her at the stake to solve their current problem.

    Merlin is now in a bind. He admits that he was the sorcerer that saved Gwen's father but in the end it is just laughed off as the musings of a man in love. He and Gaius search the water supply when they find the water has been poisoned. They find that an Avank (Afanc) has been placed into the water poisoning the supply. Merlin needs answers so he goes to the Dragon to find out what to do. He learns that the Avank is made from earth and water and can be destroyed by the opposite elements with Arthur's help as he is Merlin's other half. Like they complete each other.

    Merlin convinces Arthur about the creature and with Arthur and Gwen's assistance the three of them go into the underground cavern below the city to hunt the Avank. Between them they destroy the Avank with Arthur's fire and Merlin's magical wind. The one real problem is Nimueh has seen Merlin's face now and knows that he is a major adversary in her plans. Gaius find the orb that the Avank was delivered to the water supply in and Gaius informs Uther that the Mark of Nimueh was on the orb so Uther releases Gwen.

    It is interesting that Nimueh is the name of the sorceress as that name is tied to the Lady of the Lake who gives Arthur the Sword Excalibur and later takes it back when he dies. She is also the sorceress who made it possible for Uther to have the child Arthur. It will be interesting to see if this is all revealed in this story.

    Enjoyable episode and good production values. This is a delightful telling of Merlin and Arthur as younger men. Thanks for reading...
  • Not my favourite, but a solid episode.

    Episodes like this really seperate the dynamic characters like Arthur, Morgana, Merlin, Uther and Gaius from the average ones, like Gwen and... well, Gwen. As friendly and likeable as she is, and while I do like Angel Coulby, her performance this week wasn't quite as good as the rest of the cast's when it was their turn to feature prominently in the past few episodes. THAT BEING SAID, I did feel for her and I may be splitting hairs here - I'm not saying she's a bad actress. In fact, it may not be so much Angel Coulby's performance which I was dissatisfied with in this episode, and more the fact that I think the character of Guinevere is the most incomplete. She needs to grow into herself. I believe she will eventually join the ranks of Arthur, Morgana and Merlin.
    And maybe it's a bit shallow, but I tend to judge episodes by the amount of Arthur-Merlin moments they have in them - I'm not really a fan of slash as I'm rooting for Arthur and Gwen but I am drawn to that relationship. Therefore I would like to mention my favourite scene: where Merlin tries to take the blame off of Gwen and Arthur defends him from his own idiocy - grantedly embarassing him in the process, but it's funny.
  • A good episode with a clever magical twist on a common occurence of the middle ages - the plague. A softening of Arthur and continued development of the relationship of Merlin and Arthur.

    The episode opens with a witch creating a powerful spell that she sends to punish Camelot. Soon bodies start to turn up and the cause is not natural - they try to cover it up but that doesn't work as the toll escalates. The King is frantic and sets his son Arthur to find the sorcerer, Merlin narrowly escapes his book being discovered. Merlin is frantic to magically find a cure but he is persuaded not to reveal his talents yet. But when Gwen's father is struck done with the plague ,which is 100% fatal,he can't help himself and cures him. But left behind is a glowing plusing poultice which Arthur discovers, he takes Gwen before the King who sentences her to die. Arthur confesses but no one believes him, they all think he is in love with her.
    He visits the Dragon for help, and is given a puzzling reply to decipher - the answer involves both Arthur and Merlin working together to destroy the magical beast of clay that is fouling the city water supply. Together they do defeat the monster but she sees Merlin and wants revenge.
  • 'An easy solution is like a light in a storm, Merlin. Rush for it at your peril for it may not always lead you to a safe harbour.' (SPOILERS)

    The series has started to hit its stride with The Mark Of Nimueh. A plague affects Camelot, poisoning the water supply. Merlin wants to use magic to cure the afflicted but Gaius forbids it. However, when Gwen's father becomes ill, Merlin magically cures him... but then Gwen is accused of being a witch and sentenced to death by Uther. Merlin teams up with Arthur and Morgana to find out the cause of the illness. They find an Afanc in the water supply, a creature conjured from clay by a powerful sorcerer. For an old enemy of Uther's is responsible- and Merlin has crossed her... It's interesting to see Nimueh cast as a villain because certain of the original legends give her as the Lady of the Lake. Strong performances and a decent script make this an enjoyable adventure.

    The regular cast are all on top form as Julian Jones' script gives them all plenty of meaty lines. Colin Morgan continues to impress as Merlin, giving very subtle turns occasionally and forging a good rapport with Richard Wilson- who keeps up the wise old sage act nicely here, with a particularly nice line to Merlin which compares taking the easy option to rushing for a light in a storm. Bradley James begins to soften in this episode, making Arthur less bigheaded and arrogant and more empathetic- particularly when he challenges Uther about his harsh treatment of Gwen.Katie McGrath is given more to do in this episode and does it well, championing Gwen against the stubbornness of Uther's edict, convincing Arthur to look for the Afanc and- in a beautifully played scene right at the end- acting as unwilling confidante to Merlin. Similarly Angel Coulby is strong as Gwen, still keeping up the awkwardness around Merlin even when her life looks to be at an end. I wonder if there's going to be a frisson of a relationship there before she ends up going off with Arthur. Anthony Head gives a steely performance as the singularly determined Uther. Scarred- emotionally and mentally if not actually physically- by magic, his dislike of it runs strong- even to condemning Gwen to the fire. Plus there's a great scene toward the end between the two older men where Gaius reveals the titular mark... and Uther's reaction speaks volumes and sets an interesting question ticking as to the relationship between Uther and Nimueh. Michelle Ryan has little to do in this episode, besides looking alluring and muttering a few lines of Old English and the occasional 'Merlin'. Even in having that little to do, there is still a hint of a strong performance beneath it. Bonus points for the production team too as the Afanc actually looks like it is a prosthetic creation rather than CGI. The subterranean sets of Nimueh's caves look rather spiffy. There's what seems to be the obligatory scene with the Great Dragon which clocks in at about 30 seconds and about 5 lines for John Hurt. Hopefully if they're going to keep returning to the Dragon, let's hope they beef that role up too. And I know it's a slight niggle- but were sandwiches invented back in those days (even smoked pigeon ones)? It just struck me as a little incongruous- but then I suppose the same can be said for a lot of stuff in the show.

    All in all, an enjoyable episode- I'm looking forward to seeing more of Nimueh in the next one.
  • We get there in the end...

    Ok, I have to admit that I wasn't the biggest fan of the series to start off with - after all, Merlin and Arthur growing up together? Where is the historical accuracy in that? The first episode needed to be recorded via Sky+ because it was such wonderful weather (a rarity in these parts so you have to make use of it) and I must have accidentally pressed the button to record the whole series. My kids were over the moon after watching the first episode - it had a dragon in it that was held under a castle as prisoner... Please? Se what happens when a generation grows up without playing [i]Dungeons and Dragons[/i]? It made me glad not to have watched it. The second episode got even more cheers, so many that I had to come up into the living room to see what was happening: A knights tournament! Ok, it is good to know where my license money goes. My little ones now played Merlin and Knights all week - this was getting too serious for my taste. I remembered that I had recorded the first episode so when I came home late from work Friday night and the house was still I decided to watch a little bit of this new Fantasy Drama the BBC had put on. Talk about historically incorrectness - who cares. There are some good characters in there that will keep you guessing as to their motives, there are villains, there are heroes, there is a dragon, lots of swords and a king...

    Ok - I am hooked. Admittedly it was a gradual process but keeping in mind that this is aimed at the whole family this is some good stuff. I certainly will keep watching and can't wait to see what happens next. Best of all, my kids have actually looked up Merlin and I saw a book about the Arthurian saga in one of their bedrooms.

    I bet the BBC was surprised to see my latest e-mail. Usually they are full of complaints - this one was full of praise about this series...